8 meses no Brasil

I am writing this article in Berlin because I am back since middle of April. Maybe you will think after my last articles that I´m crazy when I say: I miss Brazil but it´s true. I left Sao Paulo when the Impeachment demonstrations were and arrived in Berlin in a cold of 10 degrees. When I came out of the airport I noticed that I need to take out my sweaters because I was freezing. The first contact to a German was to the taxi driver with a general bad mood and that was the point that I realized: Yes, I am back in Berlin.

For sure I don’t regret the time there because I made a lot of experiences and learned so many things here, good and bad ones of course. First of all I learned the language, 4 months extensive course and I am finally speaking Portuguese! This was my target and I reached it, it helped me a lot to speak Portuguese here because as I told already, not a lot of people does here. It made the life easier and secure in different situations. In the beginning I was insecure to take the busses here because when I would be lost, no one could really help me. Who I should ask and the chance to find someone who speaks English is so low.
Another point I learned is to keep calm here. If something doesn’t work like you want it, don’t stress yourself and wait until it´s solved. So many examples to mention but I take one. I bought a Samsung phone here and after one week the camera was not working anymore so I went to the technical assistance to get the phone repaired. The worker told me to wait two hours and I could take the phone. Sounded too great to be truth! In the end I was there for 6 hours, after asking a lot of times I had my phone back and noticed that they repaired the camera but broke the battery loading system. Went to another assistance again and I should wait one day, one day became 1 week. When I was there to pick up the phone, I had to wait again, of course, because the workers couldn’t find my phone anymore. Situations like this are usual here, the difference is that in Germany the worker would almost have a heart attack and here in brazil the people are so relaxed. A good example is the supermarket desk here, in Germany you run like a crazy to be fast, so I did this here also in the beginning until I noticed that there is no need to do this because anyway everyone is so relaxed. First times the desk worker told me: Calma! It means relax. I started to do this and maybe now I am sometimes to relaxed here, who knows, I guess I don’t care so much about anymore.
I´m proud that I understand now the public transport system of Sao Paulo without problems now so I also use the busses and the metro without problems. Learned also that when it starts to rain, I should better wait or try to take a taxi. The public transports are so full when it rains. Most important here is also to keep calm. I discovered the neighbourhoods and now where I can get the things I need. Workers from the markets and bakeries here close know me and sometimes I can be so lazy that I don’t even need to say what I want because they know it already. What a service! Sometimes I wish to see that more often in Germany.

These days since I am back I´m noticing that Brazil influenced me in my behavior. Although I was thinking that I am more calm now, it´s not true. In the supermarkets I´m still relaxed here even if the others have no patience, I simply don´t care about it! Some friends told me that I always have a smile now when I´m talking, I did not notice it, maybe it´s also an influence from Brazil. I really love Berlin and it´s my home right now and for some years more but I will be back in Brazil soon again for a student exchange and I can´t wait for it. Even if Brazil will never be the country where I want to live forever, it is somehow in my heart since 2 years now. I have a lot of memories about my time there, friends visited me, I made new friends and so on. I miss my bus adventures in Sao Paulo and simply to be lost and to discover something new. Here everything is organized, of course it´s fine but sometimes I need more chaos. Still I´m reading Brazilian news and watch series on Netflix in Portuguese. I learned a lot in this way to speak the language. Here in Berlin I do a Portuguese course and it´s right now the only possibility to train but nowadays here a lot of Brazilian events which was never before I guess. One important point here in Berlin is the security, I can go out in the night without taking a taxi and have the fear that something could happen to me or someone will thieve me. I don´t want to say that this can´t happen here, of course it can but the general safety is more given here. Enjoy the reading 

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Os bairros internacionais em São Paulo….

 

Walking spot: Avenida Sumaré

It is something impressive here, the town doesn’t have a lot of parks and spaces, so the government decided to close some more streets here on Sundays to make the people walk. On Sundays is for example the Avenida Paulista, Minhocao and the Avenida Sumaré closed for walkers. The last one I discovered lately and liked. Especially because this one is less crowded than the other two ones. A minus point goes that this street does not offer any attractions. It´s nice to really just walk or for the sport active people here, in other words do not expect any entertainment there like you maybe know it from Paulista or Minhocao. Still a nice spot to be if you want to escape the crowd and discover a new part of the city. I did the part from Metro Sumaré until almost the Allianz Parque Stadium.

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Bom Retiro – The Corean neighbourhood

At the eastern weekend here the Saturday was perfect to discover a new area. We went to Bom Retiro and it was a nice deciscion and surprising. The neighbourhood begins close of the Metro Luz, opposite of the park. Main reason to go was to try some corean food. Ate a corean barbecue, in Portuguese Churrasco coreano, and wow it´s damn good. Take care: Crazy as I am I forgot that the corean food is famous for beeing really spicy! Still good the food! The tables have a grill in the middle of the table, so you order the meat and prepare on your own. Side dishes are vegetables, rice and soups with different spices. I still don’t remember all the names of the dishes unfortunately. After that great food, it was time to eat something sweet. A friend found online before a coffee which is famous for the cakes. From outside the place looked a little crappy but inside it was a surprise, so modern and clean. The card is also in English, so perfect for foreigners. I ordered a cream fruit cake, the first I noticed is that the consistence of the corean cakes is more soft than you may know it. Another point is that the cakes are not too sweat what is awesome. I don’t eat so many sweets here anymore because the most of them have too much sugar. I will return for sure to that place. The place is called Fresh Cake Factory and located at the Rua Prates 585 in Bom Retiro. If you decide to go on a Saturday you can visit the art gallery Pinacoteca for free, because I was there around 1000 times, we went to the Memorial da Resistência de São Paulo. Some years ago it was a prison and now it´s a museum which belongs to the Pinacoteca. Part of the exhibition is located in the old prisoners rooms. As I remember the exhibitions are changing.

 

Bixiga – The Italian neighbourhood

The last days of March I was out in the night to visit the neighbourhood. First thing you notice is that the buildings there look historical and seem to be older. A lot of colours and smaller houses. Of course you can find there Italian restaurants but also a lot of bars, especially ones who play rock music. The most famous Italian restaurant is Speranza, located at Treze de Maio 1004. I really was excited to taste the pizza there, but well I got disappointed, the pizza is not so great as everyone say. What a pity but the point goes definitely to the location! Again a surprise, from the street it doesn’t look well and when you enter it´s a different world. I think this place is worth to visit late in the night, as it has a lot of bars.

As you see the city is really international, the brazilians like to say that it´s the most european city in Brazil. I think it really is, when you travel more to the north, you will see the difference. The south should be more european also because of all the german immigrants as I heard. I didn´t visit the south of Brazil yet.

Matei as saudades da minha terra….

Saturday I finally visited a restaurant here in Sao Paulo, which has the name Fast Berlin. The name is really clever, “fast” means in German almost and well in English I do not need to explain. This describes the place the best. It´s a kind of fast food restaurant with Berlin/ German street food. They offer also German beer. The reason why I was there is obvious:

 Matei as saudades da minha terra

I was missing the German food and beer! Translated the title means that I killed the missing of my home country. The card contains starters like Brezel, Kartoffelpuffer and Feuerwürstchen. Main dishes are Currywurst, Paprikaschnitzel, Frikadelle and Schweinebrötchen as I remember. As a dessert you can choose e.g. Apfelstrudel (some kind of apple cake). I ate a Paprikaschnitzel (paprika pork meet) garnished with fried potatoes. You get a pepper sauce for the meat and mayonnaise for the potatoes. The brezel was served with a cream sauce. Well, it was really close the taste and I was surprised because I tried another restaurant here and it was not so good at all. Congratulations! Of course you cannot do here everything exactly the same, in Germany you will also never find a 100% original Indian, Chinese, Mexican or whatever dish. Tried also the Kartoffelsalat (potato salad) so good! The prices start at 10 R$ by the starters and around 20 R$ for the main dishes. I paid 32 R$ for my dish, which is ok. The beer prices are around 20 R$ if you want to taste German beer.

Another point to mention is the location on it´s own. Really cozy and comfortable in my opinion. Well furnished and reminds the Berlin style bars/ coffees. In the back at the corner, the back is decorated with beermats of different beer brands of Germany. My activity at that moment was if I find one from my hometown Paderborn, the beer is awful and is named Paderborner. We like to say that it´s the rest of the Warsteiner production, because both will be produced in the same place.

I highly recommend you to visit that place. The other point for that location is that they play good music and the workers know how to pronounce the dishes and are for sure helpful if you have no idea about what to eat. It is located at the Rua Mourato Coelho 24 in Pinheiros, Sao Paulo. As I know opened daily from 12 pm until the night. If you visit the Facebook page of them, you can check out some events at the weekends. I will come back for sure before I return to Berlin.

PS: Aloisio voce me inspirou de usar esse título com seu comentário, obrigado!

 

 

Sistema de saúde no Brasil….

Because I´m these days doing my physiotherapy and learned now a bit about the health system here in Brazil, I decided to sum up my experiences here shortly.

First point you notice is that it´s expensive! I mean the privat hospitals and doctors here. I went two times to a public hospital and it was for free, maybe I had luck but normally you hear that the public ones are not good and you have to wait a lot for everything. Every time you see in the news here, operations get cancelled because materials are missing or the people wait all the day to see a doctor. I was in a public hospital in Aracaju and in Sao Paulo. Both times I was surprised because I didn’t have any problems there and the doctors there even spoke fluent English.

In case of my patella I anyway decided after this to make the next exams at a private hospital, as well as the treatment. One good hospital here in Sao Paulo is the Sao Camilo one, they have I think five hospitals in the city. In the beginning I had to fill out papers, in Portuguese, even if I speak it now, medical questions are not in my vocabulary, luckily! My partner helped me to fill out everything and unfortunately at this one no one was speaking English. But ok, I just had to do a scan of my patella. Before anything starts, you have the pleasure to pay. In case of my international insurance I have to pay everything first on my own and get it someday back. Just the tomography had a value of 661 R$. I also had to buy an immobilizador for my knee to secure my patella, 150 R$.

After I received my exams the physiotherapy began. I just did 4 and one avalation of my exams. Each session has a value of 135 R$ for one hour. So in total you pay 675 R$. In total for all this treatment I had costs around 1500 R$ which are actually 360€.

It´s not so cheap here, of course I´m better now and it helped me and the professionals are good here but I doubt the system. The insurances make for sure billions here every year because the public health system is not good enough. The people are scared and everyone here has a private insurance plan, even if they don´t earn a lot. Minimum loan is here 750 R$, what a joke, sorry! The government has ideas to help the poor people but it is not working. For example: The government created special pharmacies where people with a low loan can go and receive their medicaments for free or the half price, this pharmacies never has got the medicaments there, you see that every day in the news. The ideas are not working and nobody want to be responsible for it. I really hope that someday I return to Brazil and see it working. I´m just not sure when this moment will be.

Do que voce mais sente saudade do seu país?….

As some of you know, my friends from Berlin were here these days and now the last of them is flying back to Berlin. I want to say thank you with this text to you guys! We met at the other end of the world again, experienced together what it is like to be in Brazil and I hope that you enjoyed this experience! Soon we will see us back in Berlin!

Back in October when I still had my Portuguese course here, we got someday a task with the question:

Do que voce mais sente saudade do seu pais?

In English it would be: What are you missing from your country? I really started to think seriously about it today. The first weeks when you go somewhere are always the same, you are excited for that adventure, happy and ready to start. You don´t really miss anything in the beginning. This feeling just comes after some weeks and is always in a different order. Sometimes more and sometimes less. First I began to miss my family and my friends. Even if nowadays you have the technology to keep in touch, it can be tough anyway. There is skype where you can see everyone on your notebook and then there exists Whatsapp, where you can write nonstop as long as you want. But does it really replace the missing? It helps for sure to make everything better. There is just always this feeling that you are at the other end of the word and it´s not possible to say, see you later. With the time everything gets fine, it was never a big deal for me, but anyway you feel it always.

 

Beside of this, you also start to miss the food from your country. Options to end this is to try to cook like you do in your country. Luckily I had luck and found for example German sausages here, which are made by German immigrants here. Not enough to stop the missing but a good start! Even when someone asked me which food I miss the most, I said that I´m missing to eat a real Döner Kebab! Yes people, it will be the first thing that I will eat when I will be back!!! No matter which one or how expensive, I just need to eat one! Some of you may think now, why the hell a Kebab? It´s not German at all! Wrong, the kebab was invented in Berlin by Turkish immigrants, so it´s more German than everyone thinks.

 

Last point what I´m totally missing is the Berlin night life! Going out with friends to our favorite parties, no matter if rock, punk, electro or whatever. Sao Paulo has a big club scene with various options but I´m still not so often out here because unfortunately I had not so much luck with the clubs here. Even the indie rock parties are ending with Samba music. I like samba but when I want to hear rock, I really just want to hear rock music and nothing else. Other point what I noticed here for example is that it is so expensive to party! Berlin prices are more moderate I think.

 

Thanks for reading this chaotic thoughts of me!

Carnaval no Rio….

This article is about my carnival experience in Rio de Janeiro. I visited the official parade in the Sambodromo there with the famous Samba schools but also the street carnival. At the streets you can see different blocos. Blocos are called the groups who are presenting themselves at the street.  In the beginning I just can tell you that it´s a fight to get the tickets to be there. It took some months to find out where to buy and in the end to buy.

Carnaval no Rio….

First step of this adventure was to buy the tickets for the parade in the Sambodromo. It began around September last year and was hard. In the internet the information are really short and it takes a while until you find the official seller. It´s LIESA the official society of the samba schools in Rio de Janeiro. I found out that the tickets there has normal prices in compare of the third sellers that you can find online. My first shock was when I read that you need a Fax to order the tickets. A fax? Seriously, who is using a fax until now? But ok, we had to wait until December and we found someone. We did a pre registration to get a code. With this code we should call Liesa to order the tickets. In general no problem, first call: call another number, ok, we tried: impossible to reach someone! Tried another time and no one is attending the phone. Another and another time again and again. You notice that it´s not working. In the end we bought the tickets from a third seller: TicketRio! After one week the tickets arrived by Sedex – Brazilian Express Mail – finally we had them in our hands!!!! I imagined it much easier for a world event like the carnival in Rio, but again I learned more.

 

The parade:

We went to the Sunday special of the parade and had luck because we saw famous schools and the samba school I heard about: Beija-Flor! We went by metro to the sambodromo and saw already some members of the schools, dressed, on the way to the parade. Exactly, the members of the samba schools go by metro to this event! First impression of the event was the organization. The sambodromo is shared in sectors, all sectors were marked, just our sector was forgotten or whatever, so you have to ask. You pass a really poor area of the town, on the way to the entrance of your sector. A dark street, full of people, strange feeling to be honest! We found the entrance after some minutes, ticket and security check, let´s go! Our tickets were for the Aquibancada in the sector 10. That means you have to climb up the stairs, because downstairs are the Camarotes and chairs. The privileged folk is downstairs, the poor one, with prices of 400R$ for one ticket has to go up. In the beginning it was ok and you could sit and stand with space and than the horror began. It got so crazy full that you had to control every moving of you! A guy in front of us, got aggressive, because everyone was passing him and there was no security in our sector upstairs. I don’t want to imagine what will be if something happens there. If you get thirsty, a seller is passing through the crowd to sell you drinks, of course the drinks are iced. It looked for me like modern slavery, the seller has to pass the crowd and take care with the steps, maybe with 40 kg on his shoulder. Dangerous but also impressive action! They were completely professionals and I guess they don´t do this for the first time!

 

 

The samba schools:

The parade began more or less on time and excited we were waiting. The things we knew before is that every school has 82 minutes to pass, otherwise they get less points and that every school has a song for the performance which is played all the performance long. The song must surround the topic of the performance. Each school had an own topic and represented this topic in a line, a full history. I was impressed when the first school started, everything is so crazy big and detailed. A lot of colours and dancers you see. The people got crazy around us and sang the songs of the school and were dancing. The first school presented the Saint Jorge and his life, that was the topic of them. Another one represented Rio de Janeiro as the city of the coming Olympic games. All this schools were awesome with nice trucks, decorated, good dancers and the Bateria, the percussion group of every school. Before the Bateria always a woman is running in front with the flag of the school, she is always one of the most important persons there – called Rainha da Bateria – translated it means queen of the percussion. Behind her somewhere is the king of the percussion. All this information, you just get when you read before online. The program of the schools was just in Portuguese, luckily there was sitting a guy next to us who is a fan of the carnival and knew everything about. He spoke also English and so translated and told us everything he knew about. We saw three different samba schools before we gave up, especially me, because I still have my knee problems and had no power anymore.

 

Street carnival:

Last part of this text is the experience of the street carnival. I didn’t like it so much because everything started late. We had a magazine with all the blocos, who will participate and chose there the ones who were interesting. In general the plan was to visit one in Lapa, one at Copacabana and one in Santa Theresa, as well as one in Flamengo where we stayed. What we saw, was not really great and not organized until the end. The bloco at Copacabana reunited in the end with the three others who were there. The one in Lapa we didn’t really find, I had the image that they are always moving but soon I discovered that nowadays blocos are also just standing and having a stage somewhere. Overall it was everywhere similar, drunk people, powerless, it was too hot there and we were also powerless.

 

The parade at the Sambodromo was really beautiful and I was impressed, the street carnival will not be my favorite. I think some people use the carnival as an excuse to be drunk and crazy there. Another point is that we had every day a tough sightseeing program and arrived tired to the parties. Its better to decide just for one thing, carnival or sightseeing I guess, but we made it anyway. I´m not sure until today if this fight for the tickets was worth, for sure not for the places that we had. If I should go for carnival in Rio again, I will choose definitely other places and another sector.

Cidade Maravilhosa….

Hello World!

 

Finally I have the time to write again after a while of silence here. Like always, everything has a good reason. First of all, people I´m engaged now!!!! I was also working on my own business and openend an online travel agency. At the moment it´s exciting and new but start to work with the time. My friends from Berlin were visiting me these days also and we travelled finally to Rio de Janeiro. What a city! I decided to write two articles about because I visited also the official carnival parade of Rio. So this text is about my experience in Rio de Janeiro. Also called:

 

Cidade Maravilhosa

 

Translated would be something like great, wonderful city. The cariocas, the habitants of Rio de Janeiro, are more than proud of their city. First question from the people is always if you like the city. Just say yes, otherwise maybe you can get the most hated person in town!

First impression of the city began at the airport. The flight from Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro just takes 40 minutes. The same time you wait also for your baggage at the airport. Time doesn´t matter there so much! When you have your bags, the next step is to catch a cab. Take taxi comum! The yellow ones! Use the counter of them in the arrival area and you will get a receipt with the price of your ride! Don´t pay more! One detail is, if you have bags with you, the price gets higher. If you take your backpacks with you to the cabin the price is lower! Crazy!!!! Anyway I was too excited for the city than to waste my time to be confused. Other advice, if you fly to the international airport Galeao, you will not see the town with all it´s sightseeing points, try to take a flight to the town airport Santos Dumont! This airport is located close of the Sugar Loaf. On our way to our flat in Flamengo, we passed the Sambódromo, here the official carnival parade takes place.

We stayed in an apartment in Flamengo and booked it at Airbnb. It was my first time that I try this system and it was really awesome. It was my first time that I try this system and it was really awesome. You have everything what you need to survive and it feels more like home than in a hotel. As usual in Brazil, the house had gaters, where we also picked up the key for the flat. They were nice and it worked without any problems. Flamengo is a nice district and everything is close of you. Supermarkets, Kiosks, Pharmacies, Bus stations and the metro. Flamengo has also his own beach, which was really popular, but nowadays has no chance anymore with concurrence of Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. This beach is more relaxed and seemed not so full.

The sightseeing program was the minimum that you can do when you are there because we were mainly there for the carnival. First day we went to the Cristo Redentor, which was close by bus from our flat. I guess 10 minutes, but it took one hour until the bus came. You have two possibilities to go up, by train or by mini van. For us it was clear to take the train up, even if it´s more expensive and takes more time. Had the honour to pay 68 R$ for the return trip and wait 2 hours! Good advice for Rio is, to have a lot of water with you! It´s hot there and humid. After one day you get used to be wet and don´t care anymore about this what normally feels uncomfortable! The trains are ok and it takes like 20 minutes to go up. When you are there, you have to go up some steps or take the lazy way and use the elevador! After two hours we were in front of the Cristo. First impression, it´s hot like in hell there and maybe also so full! I don’t know why but I always imagined that the statue is much bigger than it is. It takes time to get the obvious selfie with the Cristo in your back, enjoy the view and try to find out what the hell you see from there. I catched myself feeling like a typical tourist, making like 1000000 pictures, even if they are bad, made with my mobile. One hour was enough for all of this. We went to the restaurant there and were surprised about the prices. I imagined everything but the prices were normal! How cool! Unfortunately the food was crazy, I decided to don’t describe what I ate 😀

In the evening we were in Lapa, which is the party area of Rio. Full of bars, drunk people and Samba! At the next day we went to the Copacabana beach. The beach of the beaches! People, sorry cariocas! It was a big fail! The beach is full, dirty and you can´t swim there because the waves are strong and high. The water is dirty! Had chairs in front of the water at the gay beach area, sorry for this prejuce now but I think the Village People were there personally. Including the trash in front of our legs, how beautiful! I guess we were for 3 hours there, the beach in Santos here close seems to be a dream in compare with this one. As you can read, I´m so disappointed. I said that day that I will never watch again this faked travel documentaries and buy tourist guides. What a lie! Another point that makes me thinking is this special gay beach area. I mean why is it necessary? Are gay people from another planet and need an extra space? Are we not all human? This thinking is not just for this beach, saw this everywhere in the world and it´s this general separation.

On Monday I had the best sightseeing experience at the Sugar Loaf. You go up by cable car, pay 71R$. As a student 35 R$ with a valid ID. First you go to the Morro Urca and have a view already, than you change to go up to the Sugar Loaf! We had so much luck that day, normally it´s so cloudy that you don’t see a lot. Was cloudy also this day but the clouds were fast away. Lucky us! You see the beaches of Rio, Niteroi, a city which you reach with a bridge from Rio, the airport Santos Dumont and you see the Cristo from there. As you see, perfect view! The prices there for water, ice and coke were also normal. It really surprised me, I imagined the double, like usual at tourist points. The mountain has also something like a park to walk, it was so beautiful there and the perfect place to hide of the sun! I really enjoyed that point.

The last sightseeing day we used to see the district Santa Theresa and the famous steps there. The steps were cool and I was so happy to go down and not up all the way. In this heat it´s hard to survive. Especially for me with a milk ice taint! Up there is also a viewing point which was closed because of the street carnival. In the end we visited also the Ipanema beach. Bit more cool than Copacabana but also not a real dream.

 

Some things were not possible to see because of the carnival and we knew this. Rio de Janeiro is a beautiful big village, really it´s like a village with a lot of small cities and not a city, at least it feels like. I liked the city but not the beaches there. The air is humid and hot. Prepare yourself to sweat a lot and don´t forget the water! Even if you just stand, you are sweating! The metro is ok there and should be no problem to use. One trip costs 3,80 R$. You can get a chip card to load and use. Recommend to load and use, especially during the carnival, because the ticket offices get closed and the loading machines don’t work! Rio has really some kind of magic when you are there, also and especially if you see the city from the top. Is it really a wonderful city? I guess everyone has to find it out on it´s own.

Buenos Aires….

Another trip is finished. This time I went to Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina. Even though I was scared about the trip because I heard a lot of rumors about the Argentinians like the faked money, the thieves in the city or the not honest taxi drivers. I came back now with a mixed opinion.

For security we booked a transfer from the Airport to our Hotel in the city. Luckily everything went fine and the driver was waiting for us at the arrival. After 40 minutes I was in the center at the IBIS Hotel Congresso, close the Plaza Congresso, where is also the Congresso. The hotel is like every Ibis in the world. Same room size and service, breakfast was ok, but I saw better Buffets! The stay in general was nice but after 4 days we went out of the room and had a bill in front of us, which stated that we have to pay the bill and the limit is reached! At the check in they told us, that you pay the first day and the rest at the check out. How friendly folk! Anyway, the accommodation had a good location, close of two subway stations (subte) Congresso and Saenz Pena.

Let´s talk about the sightseeing experience. As some of you know, I had problems with my patella so I couldn’t really walk a lot in the town, that’s why we decided to use the Hop on Hop off busses there for two days. In Buenos Aires they are called Buenos Aires Bus. Excited I booked the tickets for 2 days and was happy about the price, 665 $ for two days and two persons. (The Peso currency sign is the same like US Dollars! I was so confused sometimes about this!) Well, we went to the bus stop and waited for the bus. They have a timetable and promise every 10-20 minutes a bus! Of course we waited more…. If you are on holiday I guess nobody cares so much about this. The yellow bus arrived than and we had to show our tickets and had the first problem already, he didn’t have headphones for us to hear the explanation about the city. The company promise a program in 7 languages to hear information and history about the city. Portuguese and Spanish was always working, English sometimes. I was so lucky that at least I speak Portuguese now! Another point to complaint is that the information was completely late, I think the worker had to play the Sounds but he was busy to talk with the driver! Always when you passed a point you got the information and was already somewhere else. After some minutes I put the phones away and enjoyed the view. Than the bus stopped at an ugly Bar in La Boca for 20 minutes, I´m sure they have a deal, why else you stop at a place like this for 20 minutes? The points that the tour covers are good, you see everything La Boca, San Telmo, Recoleta, Casa Rosada, Congresso, Obelisco, Puerto Madero and so on. The second day was not better. The same sound problems and the workers were lost in their job. Other guests asked them about information about some points and they had no idea. They didn’t understand you sometimes also. I don’t ask all the world to speak English but in my opinion you should have a basic knowledge when you work with Tourists. I was in I think 6 different busses and all the busses had this sound problems. This company is just 4 years old and already destroyed. I can´t recommend this tour.

The other days we walked and used the subway and it was much better. Maybe the best way to explore a city is really to walk and find out what is where. In 15 minutes from the Hotel is the Obelisco and Casa Rosada and the Av. Corrientes, full of theatres and cinemas. At Saturday we visited the musical Dracula, it was in the Astral theatre and I liked it. The voices of the actors were strong and the show great. It was in Spanish and I didn’t understand everything, even if it´s close to Portuguese but the accent is different and some words also. The only problem was that you can pay the tickets just with cash or VISA credit card! It´s a joke there! The same in the restaurants, they all want cash and don’t accept credit cards. It´s difficult because you pay every time taxes around 80 Pesos to cash money. Some Banks don’t process transactions from international cards. I was succesful at the international banks like HSBC or Citibank. After the return I found out that you have to look for an ATM with the sign “link”. Just this machines are able to process international transactions. If you are planning to visit Argentina, I recommend you to change your money already before you go.

Argentina always love to say that they have the best meat. Curious about that famous steak, we went to a restaurant called Parilla Pena, located at the Saenz Pena Street, which is recommended and it was a big fail. The waiter had no patience to explain the dishes and we ordered a dish that was too big. It would be nice if he told this to us that one dish is enough for two persons. In other countries the waiters always advice you when you have no idea but it seemed like they were more interested in our money than about our health. When the steak arrived, it felt like I ate a half bull at once in my stomach. I couldn’t see meat anymore for the next days and I still can´t think on it. Other restaurants were not better. Service is lazy and unfriendly. They like also to give wrong amounts back, take care! Another point I noticed is that they are not the leaders in clean tables. The towels were sometimes with hair or points of wine, when you ask to change you get another one with other dirty points of whatever.

 

The only symphatic point gets the city on it´s own.  I was surprised about the city because it reminded me so much on Europe. The architecture and the streets with the squares and parks. Buenos Aires is just 2 hours flying away from Sao Paulo but a completely different world. The parks are clean and you see a lot of trees and flowers there. Buenos Aires is also a quiet city and the people like to be outside. It´s a contrast of a historical and modern city with it´s old and new skyscrapers. La Boca for example has a lot of colourful buildings and the rich area Puerto Madero is full of skyscrapers and shopping centers. In La Boca is also located the famous stadium of the team Boca Junior. It´s old and colourful, in yellow and dark blue. We passed also the stadium of River Plate, the team for who the famous Maradona played for. I´m really not a big football fan but I made pictures for my brothers because they are crazy about football. Before I forget, the Casino of Buenos Aires is located in two old ships from the Mississippi river, they are so beautiful! At the San Telmo market you can buy on sundays souvenirs and hand made objects. The market is located at the Defensa street, which starts already close of the Casa Rosada and cross the San Telmo district.

To sum up the trip, as you see I have a lot of things to complaint. When I should go the next time, I will prepare myself better. It was not a completely horrible trip but also not perfect. I didn’t like this paying in cash, the unfriendly people and this disorganization there. It´s a pity because I was so excited for this trip and in the end I was disappointed with different things. Some art galleries and theatres were closed, like the Teatro Colon. The workers of the hotel or the sightseeing bus were not really ready to help you and you had the feeling that they have no passion to answer your questions. I didn’t feel welcome in the country. I always use to say that the people represent the country.

Muito obrigado….

On the 28 December 2015 was my planned return flight from Aracaju back to Salvador and from there to Sao Paulo, unfortunately I had an accident at the boarding when I wanted to sit down at the seat in the plane. My patella went out of it´s position on my right knee.

Back history: Two years ago I had this problem already with my knee and the patella went out and returned on it´s own. This time I didn´t have this luck and it didn´t.

It was horrible and painful like it sounds but everything went fine in the end. The steward of the airline company GOl was competent and helped me immediately. His English was good and he informed me about the next steps and calmed me down because I had strong pain. After some minutes, the ambulance guys arrived and saved me out of the plane. In this situation he also translated everything for me from Portuguese to English. I do speak Portuguese, in this situation it was better to understand everything clear. Of course this moment of getting saved out of the plane is kind of weird, especially when all passengers are looking at you but you have no choice. Anyway, when I was out, they brang me to the ambulance car and the (Check In Manager?) of GOL was there and asked if he should rebook the flight. For free! My partner was talking with him,  this minutes I had everything in my mind, but not the return flight!

The ambulance took me to a public hospital where I should consult an orthopedist. The doctor already arrived after I think 5 minutes and put my patella back on it´s position. After that I got a painkiller and could go home. I was surprised because it was a public hospital and the doctor was speaking English fluently. Public hospitals are not the best in Brazil and the people prefer to go to Private ones, that’s why I mentioned it. Even if the accident is not a joke, I am happy that everything went fine and without problems.

I want to say thank you to the steward of GOL for helping me, keeping me calm. To the ambulance workers, who were also great and to the doctor of the hospital Nestor Piva in Aracaju. Guys, I forgot your names but the most important is that I remember your help! I´m getting better now and the knee should heal in some weeks. Also I want to say thank you to the airline GOl, because they rebooked my flight and gave me a faster one to return at the next day. I received first row seats because I couldn´t move my knee. Muito obrigado!!!!!

Salvador, Aracaju e Penedo….

I hope that you all had a nice Christmas and are ready for the new year. I wish you all the best for 2016!!!

After a great Christmas trip to the northeast of Brazil I am back and give you an impression of the things that I saw. This travel was really amazing and gave me another view of Brazil. First, I visited two days Salvador, the capital of Bahia and the first capital of Brazil, which is a little unorganized but beautiful. Than I had a bus trip from Salvador to Aracaju, the capital of the state Sergipe, the smallest state in Brazil. I visited also the town Penedo, in the state Alagoas.

The first step of the trip was Salvador. The city is historical but also a perfect town to see the culture. Main sightseeing points I visited were the Praca da Se, Pelourinho, the Beach Barra where also the famous Farol da Barra is located, the sealight tower. We went also to the Ribeira Beach, which is long from the center and really not worth to see. Just the restaurant there was really nice but the beach on itself seemed to be really poor. In general I did not like the beaches of Salvador, inside the water, there are a lot of stones and you need to take care to don’t hurt yourself. My overall impression of the city is good. Even if the town seems to be completely unorganized, it has a special charme for a tourist and attracts. At the market, you can buy souvenirs for a good price and also find a restaurant with a view. Close the market is the famous Elevator located, which brings you up to the historical center. Salvador has a lot of this elevators because of the height difference of the town, which also reminds on Portugal/ Lisbon. I stayed at the IBIS RIO VERMELHO Hotel, located at the district Rio Vermelho. I liked to stay at this hotel and they offer for R$ 17,00 a really good breakfast buffet! Another advice is to visit the Pizzeria Companha da Pizza, good Pizzas and good prices! Usually Sao Paulo is famous for the best Pizzas in Brazil, but I ate the best there in Salvador! The typical food of Bahia is seafood and Acaraje, it is a seafood mix sauce which you put on a mice bread cake, if you like it is good to use spice also. As I heard, it is typical for the northeast to eat seafood, so they have a wide range to choose. What I didn’t like sometimes is that the waiters are lazy and unprofessional, but you get used to it. In Salvador you will see a  mix of rich and poor people at the same place. Before I forget to mention, I saw Capoeira live on the street, close the hotel!  Here are some impressions of the city……

 

 

After two days in Salvador, the trip went on more north with the bus to Aracaju. The capital of the state Sergipe. The bus trip was good to see the countryside and its impressive how different the country is. When I arrived in Aracaju, I was surprised to see an organized city again. Aracaju is a young city and is just 160 years old. The town is a planned city like Brasilia. Everything was clean and nice. The only problem I had there, was the heat! In the morning we had already 27 degrees and it rised until 33 during the day. The sun is really strong, and if you are also so white like me, you have to take care. My shoulders were burnt after 5 minutes!!! The river Sergipe cross the city. To be honest the trip to Aracaju, was for Christmas so I didn’t do a lot of sightseeing there and enjoyed these days with my Brazilian Family. Here are some impressions of the city….

 

During this week, we made on Saturday a trip to Penedo in Alagoas. It was a two hours ride by car from Aracaju and you have to cross the river Sao Francisco by a ferry to reach the town. Already from the ferry you see this small and beautiful town. At Penedo, I visited short the center and then we already went to a lunch, that friends of us organized at the sitio, a place like a small farm here. I don’t know how to explain it correct, like a holiday house. Here also some impressions from Penedo….

I loved this trip, because I saw another side of Brazil and could taste more different  and typical Brazilian dishes that I really liked. The people are more calm over there and seem to enjoy their life, even if they do not have a lot. Like I use to say always, the Brazilians are so helpful and friendly. Without its population, Brazil would not be so lovely.